Dubai: Art aficionados and collectors in the UAE are being offered a rare opportunity to bid on two notable Modern Arab artworks never before put up for public auction.
Two paintings Pêcheurs à Rosette and El Zar were painted decades ago by the father of modern Egyptian painting Mahmoud Saïd and will highlight a Christie’s auction October 23 entitled Modern and Contemporary Arab, Iranian and Turkish Art sale to be held in Dubai.
Known as the artist who revolutionised modern Egyptian art, Said’s artworks highlight local Egyptian scenes and everyday life especially along the coast of the 20th century Mediterranean Sea where he grew up. Most of his works depict cultural reflections that have vibrant colours and are generously bathed in sunlight.
Said’s Pêcheurs à Rosette and El Zar will lead the two-day auction beginning that will showcase more than a hundred artworks meticulously picked by Christie’s for its October sale. Both of Said’s works have been consigned for sale from a prestigious private Egyptian collection in Egypt, closely related to the artist’s family.
Pêcheurs à Rosette is touted as one of the artist’s most comprehensive works, depicting an intricately detailed Egyptian scene by the river Nile, with fishermen unloading their catch.
“This is a very important work because this is one of the rarest and most spectacular works of that time in terms of composition, style, colours, and the condition,” Hala Khayat, Specialist for Arab, Iraqi, and Turkish Art at Christie’s Middle East, told Gulf News.
“The place where the painting was done is important. This city is where they found the archaeological key to understanding the hieroglyphs. The subject of the painting is very important. The amount of layering in the artwork — it’s a well-studied composition. It’s really an ingenious study of the society,” Khayat added.
Pêcheurs à Rosette is believed to be one of the very few of Saïd’s masterpieces that are left in private hands. The 1941 painting is estimated to be worth $400,000-600,000 (Dh1.5-2 million), according to Christie’s.
“Pêcheurs à Rosette is the largest work ever to have appeared at auction by Saïd, and is equal in quality to [Saïd’s] The Whirling Dervishes (1929),” Michael Jeha, Managing Director of Christie’s Middle East and specialist in charge of the sale, said, adding that The Whirling Dervishes sold for a world record breaking $2.4 million (Dh8.8 million) in Dubai in 2010.
Also notable is El Zar, which depicts a dancing group and musicians performing a religious ritual, valued at $150,000-200,000 (Dh550-735,000).
Both works have never appeared at auction before.
El Zar has never been exhibited to the public while Pecheurs a Rosette was last displayed in public in Alexandria retrospective of 1964, the year of the artist’s death.
WHAT: Christie’s auction of Modern and Contemporary Arab, Iranian and Turkish Art
WHERE: Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel
WHEN: October 23 and 24, 2012 (Auction Dates)
October 21-22 - 2pm to 10pm (Viewing Dates)